course calendar

Under construction–Weeks 2-6 subject to significant change, but this gives you the rough idea.

Blog posts are due by 11:30 am before class time each date, unless otherwise noted.

For websites in Dutch, you can use Chrome to translate: here’s how.

Week 1: moving through space

Date DueWatch/DoWrite/Post
M 17 MayIn class

Check email from WordPress to create a WordPress account. Use any username & profile pic you like.
We’ll confirm usernames.

[in class] Introduce yourself to everyone: Where are you? What do you like to do when you’re not doing school?
What’s the best writing experience you’ve had (in or out of school), or your favorite kind of writing and why?
T 18 MayRead:
Nescio, “Young Titans” (Titaantjes in Dutch, which really means “little titans,” a better fit for the story, actually), 1914. E-Reserves.

Log in to WordPress (Wp) On this Amsterdam: Sustainable City site, click “Write” (upper right) to create a new post.

Write up a reflection on “Young Titans,” trying to focus on one of the main characters only: how does he (they are all male) relates to the urban and rural landscape? What sites are important and how does he think about them? How does he relate to them emotionally? What actions does he take in relation to them? Does any of this change over time?
W 19 MayIf you are able, take a stroll somewhere in your city/town/neighborhood. Find a spot worth looking at. Sit quietly for 20 minutes and sketch what you see (pencil, iPad, whatever). Write up some quick reflections, things you noticed while walking or sketching.

If for any reason you unable to do this outdoors, you may replicate the action using Google street views or, if you know a public site using live cams, you may use that. Alternately, you can do this as a mental walk through a familiar space, using your memory. Draw what you see onscreen or in your memory.
WordPress Blog post:

Attach a good photo of your drawing.

Then write 100-200 words reflecting on that experience: How do relate to your local landscape similarly or differently from Nescio’s “little titans”?

Use specific examples from Nescio and from your own walk and sketch.
Th 20 MayBetsky, False Flat: Why Dutch Design is So Good, 6-44. E-Reserves. Each page of text faces a page of images–look closely at these: sometimes the images speak for themselves, without reference to the text; sometimes they interact with the text in some way.

Take another short walk*, trying to use Betsky’s methods of moving through space and of observing.

Take one or two photos of something you notice: a building, a streetscape, a rural landscape, whatever you think he would have something to say about.

*the same alternatives apply as above.
Post your new photos and analyze them in ways you think Betsky would.

What do they reveal about the way this object or space was designed, constructed, or connected to its uses and surroundings?

To structure your writing, you might think about: What do you see as Betsky’s method of looking? What order does he look at things in? How does he arrange his narrative? What kind of detail does Betsky pick up on by treating the landscape the way he does?

Week 2: water, land use, and planning

M 24 MayBobbink and Nijhuis, “The Making of Dutch Delta Landscapes,” Delta Urbanism, ch. 3 (45-63). E-Reserves.

Meyer, “Composition and Construction of Dutch Delta Cities,” Delta Urbanism, ch. 4 (65-99). E-Reserves.

Color maps from Delta Urbanism. E-Reserves.

Post: 1. From the readings, what surprises you most about Dutch water/land interaction–the engineering, the politics, the cultural aspects? Please be specific. 2. What did you learn when you dug deeper? Are there models you think could be applied or learned from elsewhere? Again, be as specific as you can.

Post one or more images from the “dig deeper” part. Cite them and link to them, please. (Any form of citation is good.)
T 25 MayUN Sustainable Development Goals: Country Profiles:

Look at the Sustainable Development Report for the Netherlands and your choice of three other countries. Notice the overall pattern of goals achieved (green) vs. those where “challenges remain” (yellow, orange, red). How do their overall rankings compare? How do the patterns of different goals compare; for example, differences between environmental, equity, and economic goals?

Dive deeper with selected goals you are interested in across all four countries. How do the countries compare in the particular goals you focused on?

For reference, the 17 Goals are described here:
Post: Write up some initial observations about similarities &/or differences you see between the Netherlands and the other countries you chose, based on the questions at left.

Find an appropriate image that reflects one of the successes you noticed for any country. Please cite and add a link to the image at the end of your post. Just say: “Image credit: . . .”

W 26 May
Zuiderzee history:

Nordoostpolder history (read all text/images for these chapters; videos are optional; other chapters on the site also optional):
2. Lake Flevo & Lake Almere to 1200 AD. 3. Creation of Zuiderzee 5. Schokland. 6. Oud-Kraggenberg. 8. Draining & Staying Dry (construction of Nordspolder). 9. Cultivation. 11. Subdivision. 12. Emmeloord & Christaller model. 13. Landscape.

Why the Dutch Built a Motorway in the Sea (6 min)

Fishmigrationriver Afsluitdijk (6 min) (Linked from Rivers Network site.)

Post: Discuss one of the features/areas from the readings/videos. Re-frame it in light of one of the specific Sustainability goals. Where do you think it might be meeting that goal? Where are problems, or what questions would you raise?

Choose a telling image (could be from your own research futher) and cite it.
Th 27 May

Look at Google Maps for your own current location.

Find the key water features–whether natural, human-made, or some combination. Which ones have shaped your city/town/neighborhood the most?

Do a little online research–can you find the history of at least one key waterway or water-related feature–how it has changed over time?

How does this feature relate to sustainability? Does it have a positive or negative role in relation to sustainability?

If possible, go to the site and photograph and sketch it.
Post your photo/s, and either your own sketched map or a marked-up screen-shot from an online map.

Write in your post:

Briefly analyze at least one of these local water features–its relationship to human design/planning/ architecture.

Evaluate this in terms of sustainability. What goals does it address or create problems for? What resources does it conserve or use?

Week 3: housing and architecture

M 31 MayMemorial DayNo GW classes.
T 1 JuneOnline video (5 min):
MapsPlusMotion’s Animated map history of Amsterdam.

Video: Joppe Schaaper, architectural history parts 1, 2, & 3 (15 min. ea.). Bb>Videos.

Feddes, Millennium of Amsterdam, excerpt #1 (C.E. 1000-1850). E-Reserves.
Post: Screenshot one moment from Joppe’s presentation, &/or one shot from Feddes (or online image). Put them in conversation: how does one interpretation build upon or contrast with the other in some specific way? What more do you want to know, esp. re: sustainability questions?
W 2 JuneVideo: Joppe Schaaper, architectural history parts 4 & 5 (15 min. ea.). Bb>Videos.

Nordoostpolder history (read all text/images for these chapters; videos are optional; other chapters on the site also optional):
14. Town Planning. 15. Architecture. 18. Selection of Inhabitants. 19. Building up society. 20. Cultural diversity. 27. Wieringermeer Board. 28. Landdrost & Mayor. 29. Provinces & Water Board. 30. Municipality.

Feddes, Millennium of Amsterdam, excerpt #2 (C.E. 1850-2000). E-Reserves.
Post: as above, but focusing esp. on Joppe’s lectures & the Noordoostpolder materials. What are the key elements of sustainably designed villages/cities? What to you seems to work or not work and why?

At bottom of your post, draft 3 questions you’d like to ask Joppe in class, based on your above reflections: maybe something from Feddes that you’d like his perspective on. Maybe something he discussed that you’d like more info on. What more do you want to know, esp. re: sustainability questions?

In class: Special Guest, Joppe Schaaper of History on Demand.
Th 3 JuneNo class meeting. Draft essay 1.11pm DC time: Post to Blackboard (not Wp): Draft of essay 1. Attach as Word or PDF. In the thread, write out some questions you’d like us as readers to address.
Fri 4 JuneScheduled on Bb>Tutorial Schedule.

Tutorials (live chat in small groups, scheduled across the day).

Zoom link at Bb>Zoom.
Complete before tutorial:

Peer Response due at your tutorial time (attach to peer’s Bb post of draft): For each peer in your tutorial group, mark up the draft for these four things (in whatever way you best work, e.g., markup PDF or Word):

1. Highlight the draft’s central claim or claims (maybe “thesis”).
2. Question all evidence for claim/s: what more detail do you want? Could that evidence support a different claim or idea?
3. What does the draft almost but not quite say?
4. What to you is the key to this draft–its most important moment or feature?

See Bb>Tutorial Schedule for time. Peer response due at meeting, Bb>Zoom.

Week 4: farming & “letting the water back in”

M 7 JuneMeet for class. We’ll read essay 1 in small groups & talk about writing process.11:30 AM DC time: Essay 1 final due, as new post on WordPress.
T 8 JuneDancing with Horned Ladies, film, 54 mins. Dutch w/ English subtitles (Click CC>English). $5.54 to rent for 48 hours (take good notes):
Post: what most surprises you here? Where and how do you think these methods could be applied to American agriculture? What adaptions or policy changes would need to be made? What might be impossible to apply?
W 9 JuneRotha and Winnubst, “Understanding water governance from a citizen perspective: Farmers’ dilemmas in a future retention area,”  Sociology of Development and Change (2015). E-Reserves.

A New Dutch Polder Landscape, Open each tab to see the full site (they’re all brief).
Post: address the questions Rotha & Winnubst ask at the end of their article, with specific reference to at least one or two elements of their case study (e.g., different perspectives/interests articulated there). (You can also add any additional bits of info from the New Dutch Polder Landscape website.)
Th 10 JuneHurst, “Welcome to the Purpose Economy,”

Follow at least one link from Hurst’s article to explore further.
Post: What specific elements of the purpose economy do you see already operating in any of the Dutch examples we’ve been exploring so far? Be as specific as you can. How are these similar or dissimilar to Hurst’s ideas or the examples he links to?

Week 5: slavery, colonization, war, legacies

M 14 JuneBlakely, Blacks in the Dutch World, pp. 103-170 (about 50% images).

Walk-through of Rembrandthuis’s exhibit, HERE: Black in Rembrandt’s Time, 11 min., (2020). For English subtitles, click the Settings gear icon > Subtitles/CC > English).

Co-curator Stephanie Archangel on “HERE: Black in Rembrandt’s Time,” 16 min. (2020),
Post: Address any or all of these questions:

What most surprised you about the visual history of Black people in the Netherlands and its West Indies colonies?

What do you think about how this history is being addressed in museum & art curation? What issues & problems remain?

How would you connect these issues to any of the principles of sustainability?

T 15 JuneNo readings/prep, just post ->Post: reflecting on yesterday’s discussion, What more would you like to know about race, immigration, and discrimination in the Netherlands today (questions you can ask our special guest).

NOTE: NEW ZOOM LINK! See email & Bb>Announcements.

Special guest: Jennifer Tosch, Black Heritage Amsterdam Tours (BHAT). Live virtual tour and Q&A.

NOTE: NEW ZOOM LINK! See email & Bb>Announcements.
W 16 June

Kuper, Ajax, the Dutch, the War, ch. 15, “Disneytown and the Secret Monuments,” 233-244, E-reserves (to be added).

Feddes, map on p. 277 of Millennium of Amsterdam (part 2), Bb>E-Reserves.

Online: STIWOT: STichting Informatie WereldOorlog Twee,“Stumbling Stones: North Holland,” Traces of War. Click filters: select only “Stumbling Stone” and select all three “rankings” (as below). Then zoom in to see individual locations in Amsterdam (or other cities). Click on individual markers to see photographs. You can also switch view to Grid to see photos.
New post: (Choose a relevant image to illustrate): Compare the map in Feddes to the STIWOT map of stumbling stone memorials. How do these successfully or unsuccessfully memorialize those murdered in the Holocaust? To answer, make specific reference to material from Kuper as you do this analysis.
Th 17 June
No prep!
I’ll present on DC & GW’s history of slavery, segregation, “urban renewal,” and memorialization. Q&A to follow.

Week 6: bicycling & sustainability

M 21 JuneMark Wagenbuur, Bicycle Dutch blog videos:

Amsterdam children fighting cars in de Pijp, 1972.

1950s American newsreel on Dutch biking.

Junction design for safer cycling.

Explaining the Dutch roundabout abroad.

Transitions from one type of infra to

Cycle route update: It’s all in the details.

Streetfilms, Utrecht: Planning for People & Bikes, Not for Cars.

Post: Visit an intersection that connects something important–somewhere that a person might want to bike or walk to get somewhere. Take photos at the site. Screen shot it in Google maps. Now, re-draw that intersection, either in map format or perspective (as you’d see it when approaching it) using principles from the videos. You can draw on a google-map image, or use any kind of drawing techniques available to you. Try to be as accurate and detailed as you can. Account for all possible intersection users.

T 22 June
Pascal van den Noort, Velo Mondial. 360-degree virtual bike rides & other videos. Watch 10 videos of your choice linked here on Velo Mondial’s channel. Try to choose some variety–rural, urban, etc., based on the titles.

Most have 360-degree view available–just swipe around to see.

Go for a walk or a bike ride of any length. What differences do you notice in your experience vs. what you see in in his videos.

Stop and take photos or do sketches of interesting observations.

Post two or three images from your ride/walk. About 200 words: what specific differences btw. your experience and what you saw in Pascal’s videos?

W 23 JuneReturn to Mark’s & Pascal’s videos, re-watch interesting bits to form questions for your post.
Post: Screenshot one image from one of Mark’s or Pascal’s videos. 100 words: what questions do you have about how this works or came to be, or any other questions for Pascal.

NOTE: we may need to start 15 minutes late.

In class: Special guest Pascal van der Noort of Velo Mondiale.
Th 24 JuneDraft of essay 2 due 11pm at Bb>Drafts.Draft of essay 2 as before.
F 25 JuneDrafts for tutorials. Tutorials meet as before.Peer review due at tutorial, as before (see assignment above).
Sa 26 JuneLast day of term. No class meeting. But I am available if you need to talk about essay 2.Essay 2 due. Extension possible til Sunday evening. Please ask.